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New technology offers the promise of speech with minimal barriers and without borders. The Internet has radically enhanced our ability to express ourselves and our ability to access, archive, and share information. Everyone should be able to take advantage of this promise.

Individuals around the world should be able to use new technologies to publish their ideas; criticize those in power; gather and report the news; and make, adapt, and share creative works. Vulnerable communities should be able to safely meet and grow, making themselves heard without being drowned out by the powerful. The ability to freely exchange ideas also benefits innovators, who can use all of their capabilities to build even better tools for their communities and the world.

Standing in the way of that promise are legal, structural, and corporate obstacles. Laws and policies have made chokepoints, enabled censorship regimes, controlled access and use of intellectual property, increased government surveillance, and undermined security and safety. Legislation created by democratic governments has caused collateral damage elsewhere. A few powerful players have an outsized influence on free expression that threatens to homogenize and limit the voices on the Internet. Corporations selectively enforce policies and abuse those structures and laws with the result of censorship and self-censorship.

EFF’s mission is to fight for the promise of free expression offered by new technology and overcome the legal, structural, and corporate obstacles in its way.

Protecting Free Expression Online

We work in the courts and in legislatures in the US and around the world to defend and expand the right to access and share information and expression—including anonymous speech. We defend activists, journalists, news outlets, online forums and archives against government and corporate censorship. We also work to preserve the protections against intermediary liability that have been essential to the growth of the Internet as a forum for expression, because online speech platforms and services can only thrive when they don’t risk severe legal repercussions for their users’ activities.

Recognizing that censorship can take many forms, we go to court to hold rights holders accountable when they abuse copyright and trademark rights to shut down lawful speech and research. And we defend and expand your right to secure, encrypted communications, so that dissenting voices can protect themselves from retaliation from governments and private actors.

Our advocacy isn’t limited to the courtroom. We also work to educate the public and policymakers about the ramifications of proposals that would limit access to information and expression. From working with allies to fight for better policies or against bad laws to advocating for people who build tools that protect speech, EFF’s activism makes sure technology is made and used in the service of free speech.

Empowering Free Expression with New Technologies

EFF also builds tools that enable people to access and express themselves on the Internet securely and anonymously, creates guides and education materials for vulnerable populations to learn about security tools, and embarks on projects to expose governments and corporate actors using malware and other technologies to intercept people’s online communications.

EFF’s projects include browser extensions such as Privacy Badger, which prevents cookies and other tracking devices from tracking you across websites, collecting data about your activities, and then selling or sharing that data with third parties and HTTPS Everywhere, created with the Tor Project, which redirects users to encrypted versions of websites so that outside actors cannot intercept and spy on their web traffic.

Because tools are only useful if people know how to use them, our experts also create guides and training materials for people to help their own communities learn about security. EFF also researches how governments and private actors create, purchase, and use malware, IMSI catchers, and other spying technologies.

As technology grows and changes, it’s important that it not reinforce obstacles to free speech, but allows everyone to share ideas and experiences safely.













Free Speech Highlights

Free Speech is Only as Strong as the Weakest Link

From Mubarak knocking a country offline by pressuring local ISPs to PayPal caving to political pressure to cut off funding to WikiLeaks, this year has brought us sobering examples of how online speech can be endangered. And it’s not only political speech that is threatened – in the United...

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communication Decency Act Tucked inside the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 is one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet: Section 230. This comes somewhat as a surprise, since the original purpose of...

Free Speech Updates

China Spying

中國的全球觸角:超越防火長城的監控和審查制度

Translator: Participants of Oct. 2019 Coffee and Circumvention @ Taipei.Translation coordinator: Open Culture Foundation譯者:2019.10 網路自由小聚參與者 對於身處於中華人民共和國(People’s Republic of China, PRC,以下稱中國)國境之外的人們來說,中國式的網路審查並不陌生,也就是透過國內網絡、藉由「防火長城」來進行,這個系統能夠透過監控、封鎖的技術來阻止中國公民瀏覽牆外的網站。中國政府認為架設防火長城符合「網絡主權」的概念,理由正當。中華人民共和國長久以來皆如此宣示:「在中國境內,網際網路是中國主權管轄的範圍。」 而香港,在一國兩制下,得以置身於防火長城之外,來自外國的數位服務如推特 (Twitter)、谷歌 (Google) 和臉書 (Facebook) 在香港可以正常運作,香港在地的網路服務供應商也公開表示反對國家審查網路。 然而隨著香港示威抗議運動持續升溫,中國開始毫不掩飾越過國境,將其觸角延伸到防火長城以外,在全球輿論空間不斷干擾、詆毀反送中運動。當中國以全世界為場域,試圖噤聲牆外的抗爭消息時,中國向全世界展示了它的能耐,展露其消弭異議和批評之聲的工具。 其中一些手段,像是對私人企業施壓(例如 : 美國運動公司 NBA 和遊戲公司暴雪)登上了美國頭條新聞,激怒這些公司的客戶和員工。 另一些手段則更有技巧,對西方觀察家來說不那麼顯而易見。 瞄準牆外網站的「大砲」大炮」 (Great Cannon) 是一套大規模的技術系統,透過設立在中國的網路服務供應商,在進行網路審查的同時,一併把攻擊用的 Javascript 程式碼,在不安全的 HTTP...

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